Colombian refugee lecture inspires community

By Elijah Clarke, Staff Writer

On Thursday, Oct 8, Colombian refugee Alvaro Silva visited Armstrong students to give a presentation on his journey to the U.S. This presentation marks one of the final events of Latino Heritage Month, and a variety of students and disciplines were in attendance.

The presentation, titled “From Refugee to the Corporate World,” featured Mr. Silva speaking to the audience about his family, childhood and working for Coca-Cola.

Noe Paramo, a senior cell biology major, said “It’s my second time attending a speech by him, and his stories are so motivational.”

Silva discussed Coca-Cola’s current campaign with Latin American students, noting that it includes cans with names, just like here in the U.S, though the names peel off and function as temporary tattoos. Commercials in Latin America feature people explaining why they love their traditional names and why they take pride in their heritage.

Silva described leaving college in Colombia to move to the U.S to help his sick father. He shared that he celebrated his first time as employee of the month with his parents before his father died. Silva re-enrolled in college at Kennesaw State and eventually went on to work for the famed soda company.

Keith Morgan, a sophomore, said “I have become inspired. I realized I have it better than I thought I did. I shouldn’t complain, and should keep working hard.”

Silva encouraged attendees to stay focused on their dreams, explaining that there are three essential keys to success: education, hard work, and networking.

Silva added that, “Not everybody knows what they want to do, and even if they do, they don’t know what’s going to happen. Just grow and pursue growth. Every path changes. Keep an open mind.”